Western-style hotels (hotels that we're used to in the Americas and Europe) in Japan often tend to have smaller rooms and/or smaller beds than you might expect. If you are planning to share beds with your child, we recommend you to find out the width of your bed from the hotel website- or ask us about your hotel before booking!
A ryokan is a Japanese-style inn, where all rooms have tatami (bamboo mat) floors, with futon bedding. Guests put the bedding directly onto the tatami and sleep at floor level. At least one meal is usually included with the price of the ryokan. Dinner will be kaiseki style, and breakfast will usually be Japanese style as well. Most places usually have a private shower or bathroom in the guest room, but one of the best parts of staying in a ryokan is the public bath/natural hot spring (onsen).
A minshuku is a local family-operated bed and breakfast that almost functions like a homestay. You will be able to experience traditional Japanese lifestyle, and interact with locals as well. Minshuku are especially recommended for low budget travelers. Something to be aware of, though, is that in some minshuku the guest and the host would share a bathroom. Whether the bathroom is shared with the family or not depends on the minshuku.
Capsule hotels are a really unique experience in Japan! It was originally designed for business men working or entertaining late into the evening. This is why most capsule hotels are located in city centers. Most users are men, but some hotels have separated sections for women.
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Public Bath Etiquette
An onsen literally means "hot spring" in Japanese, but the word also is used to describe the resorts and Japanese-style inns (ryokan) surrounding the hot spring. A sento is a public bath house.
There are very specific rules and etiquette for using public baths. In both hot springs and bath houses, there are separate areas to wash before bathing. Because the bath facilities are shared by many people, this step is extremely important.
Usually wearing bathing suits is prohibited, and tattoos of any kind are almost always not allowed.
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